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Wednesday, 13 August 1913

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I only know from reading it what Senator McColl is alleged to have stated, and, of course, he has practically admitted that by reading it here. However much we may deplore the ill-natured and malicious utterances which have been made-

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is not entitled to characterize any statement made by another senator as malicious, and I ask him to withdraw that statement.

Senator RAE - I withdraw the word " malicious," but I suppose I may be within bounds in saying "ill-natured and inaccurate." Possibly I may be permitted to say the statements were knowingly inaccurate. I am not particular as to words used so long as they convey my meaning. While we may deplore this exhibition in Victoria of what I am not allowed to call malice on the part of Ministers of the Crown, we must realize it is only a small sound compared with the general volume of malicious utterances which proceeded from every responsible individual. Throughout New South Wales similar utterances were made every day. A campaign of misrepresentation was entered on by every so-called liberal-minded man.

Senator Findley - This statement was made by a Government after they decided to order an inquiry.

Senator RAE - No doubt that is the chief offence, that after the matter had become sub judice this statement was made; but the whole position of the honorable senator and his colleagues in this Chamber and in another place has been absolutely built up on similar misrepresentations. There would not be one Minister in the position he now occupies without the/n.

Senator Findley - They floated in on them.

Senator RAE - And with the disgraceful expenditure of money aiding them in their campaign. It is a reflection, a disgrace, and a disaster to Australia, that the present Government should hold office, considering the means by which they attained it; it is an absolute disgrace to the manhood of Australia that they should, even for twenty-four hours, hold office; it is a reflection on Australia that the Government should be there, from the topmost of the Ministry to the humblest member of it, when they scored their majority by a campaign of calumny, falsehood, and misrepresentation, with which they flooded the Commonwealth from end to end. It is to be deeply deplored that, after the battle is over, in the absence of excitement and party feeling which may, perhaps, lead a man astray during a campaign, when there is no excuse or reason for excited utterances, this kind of thing should be repeated in cold blood after the Government, of which the honorable senator is a member, had submitted the matter to some sort oi judicial inquiry. It simply shows the inability of the honorable senator concerned to recognise the decencies of public life; and it is that alone which prevents him from apologizing to the Senate and the country for the disgraceful statement he made.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator must withdraw that.

Senator RAE - Well, the outrageous statement he made.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator must first withdraw the word.

Senator RAE - I withdraw "disgraceful," and use the words "outrageously and wilfully inaccurate statement."

Senator Millen - Is " wilfully inaccurate " a term that should be allowed to pass in this Chamber?

The PRESIDENT - If it is considered offensive to the honorable senator to whom it is applied, I must ask that it be withdrawn.

Senator RAE - Very well; though I can hardly understand how the honorable senator can stop short of asking me to withdraw my whole speech. It was all meant to be deliberately offensive.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is not entitled to say that.

Senator RAE - Very well; I withdraw it. In fact, I withdraw the whole speech.

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